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  Apollo 10: Charlie Brown and Snoopy signs

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Author Topic:   Apollo 10: Charlie Brown and Snoopy signs
Larry McGlynn
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Posts: 836
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 06-23-2014 10:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I published a new article on the blog today about two of the five crew members on Apollo 10: Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the other crewmen of Apollo X
In May of 1969, Apollo 10 lifted off for a rendezvous with the Moon. It was the dress rehearsal mission for the first lunar surface landing mission, and the crew came within 50,000 feet of the Moon’s surface. While the history books name a three man crew of Tom Stafford, John Young and Gene Cernan, the payload that was lifted by a Saturn V rocket on that Sunday afternoon, carried a total of five crewmates...
Charlie and Snoopy are together again.

james f. ruddy
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Posts: 50
From: Rancho Mirage, CA
Registered: Nov 2008

posted 06-24-2014 09:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for james f. ruddy   Click Here to Email james f. ruddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A great article Larry. It's fitting that Charlie Brown and Snoopy are together again.

I wonder if it's as much fun to work at NASA today as it was back then?

freshspot
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Posts: 295
From: Lexington, MA, USA
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 06-25-2014 01:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for freshspot   Click Here to Email freshspot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Larry, the two paintings together as part of your collection are remarkable. Wow - what a fantastic set of artifacts. Besides being historic and having interest in multiple categories of collectable, they will display great in a frame.

And thank you for the write-up. It is fascinating to read about the history of the items and their use in live color television during Apollo 10.

David Scott
(not the astronaut)
co-author Marketing the Moon

cfreeze79
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Posts: 312
From: Martinez, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 06-25-2014 02:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I vividly recall when the Snoopy was listed on Astro Auction. Oddly enough, the auction closed during a rare outage of the website, and I was unable to place additional bids on it to acquire it - I had, and continue to, look for items flown aboard LM-4, as I am both a space collector and a Snoopy collector, and well, the Apollo X flown Snoopy painting is my personal collecting "holy grail".

Nevertheless, I am thrilled to see it got an excellent home. Let me know when you are tired of it, as I would relish the chance to take over custodianship of it.

David Carey
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posted 06-25-2014 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good stuff Larry -

Wasn't aware of the color test chart angle for the pictures or the notion of the Peanuts 'brand' potentially being tarnished by any failure.

I like the art/engineering duality for your paintings and Schulz's perspective in licensing the characters for use by NASA.

Thanks for the writeup.

SkyMan1958
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posted 06-25-2014 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good stuff Larry! It was GREAT to see you and to see Charlie Brown and Snoopy in their new home. Congratulations on putting together the set!!!

mode1charlie
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Posts: 634
From: Honolulu, HI, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 06-25-2014 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool, Larry. Congrats on scoring such unique artifacts and thanks for your careful curation.

Rick Mulheirn
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Posts: 2708
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 06-25-2014 05:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very nice blog Larry; a typically diligent and accurate account. I can't think of a better place for them to be... except here maybe!

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-25-2014 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations Larry, on uniting a boy and his dog once more! Fantastic write-up. It raises a question, though...
Under a license agreement between Charles Schulz and NASA, a NASA contracted graphic artist by the name of Ernie Reyes painted a caricature of Charlie Brown in a spacesuit on a green background and Snoopy, in his flying gear, on a piece of red poster board.
If a license existed, implying prior knowledge by Schulz that the paintings were going to fly, is there any record as to why he didn't draw (or paint) them himself?

Schulz provided the original artwork of astronaut Snoopy used for the Silver Snoopy and for the various Manned Spaceflight Awareness safety posters. Any idea why the paintings didn't follow suit?

lspooz
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Posts: 149
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2012

posted 06-26-2014 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lspooz   Click Here to Email lspooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Again, kudos for the great posting about another bit of space history.

The hallmark of an great tool is one that is both functional and elegant, and this applies to many of the artifacts in your postings.

Larry McGlynn
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Posts: 836
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 06-26-2014 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, I have asked all three members of the crew why Schulz didn't paint the works and that answer seems to be lost in time.

I am just continuing to look for more information on the paintings.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2491
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-27-2014 01:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That indeed is a good question, because Schulz swore no one would ever draw the Peanuts strip except for him. Others can get the characters close, but not exact. (I was at a store the other day and got excited when I saw a Peanuts comic book - even though I knew Schulz was dead. I picked it up, and immediately put it down because the characters were "off" - I didn't even check to see whether it was licensed or not.)

Larry McGlynn
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Posts: 836
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 06-27-2014 07:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hart, you should read Schulz's biography. It tells how he licensed NASA's use of the Peanuts characters in the MFA program.

When the crew of Apollo X decided on the names for the spacecraft, some people were concerned that in the event of failure of the mission and death of the crew, Charlie and Snoopy would be forever linked to the flight. Thus putting a black cloud over Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Schulz was said to have replied that if the crew can risk their lives, then he could risk Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Schulz was such an advocate of the space program.

I have attempted to interview anybody related to the Apollo X and the paintings. They are the first original paintings to fly to the Moon. They were a very visible part of the first color TV inflight shows from a mission to the Moon.

I just keep looking for more answers. I have talked with the crew. I have talked with members of the backup crew and the support crew. I have talked with the Schulz Museum who displayed the Snoopy painting at the museum back a few years ago. If I could find some ground support people, then I would talk to them also. I just keep pecking away looking for more answers.

Two other items of note.

I want to thank all of you for reading and providing the very positive comments on the article.

As I was reviewing the inflight TV shows that Apollo X performed during the mission, the crew gave the guys at mission control a subtle reminder of what their real job was during the flight. With the camera focused on the Earth, Gene cued up the tape recorder and played "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra. It is the first track on the cassette tape that Gene and Al Bishop created for the mission. I have that tape and that is the subject of another future story.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ
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posted 06-27-2014 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Larry, I'm aware of NASA's licensing of Peanuts. I'm just not aware of anyone else drawing the Peanuts characters other than Schulz — the to-come computer-generated cartoon (which, in my opinion, looks terrible) notwithstanding.

Anyway, my understanding (and belief) is that aside from the Apollo 10 renditions, all Snoopy images used in NASA were made by Schulz, not anyone else.

Go4Launch
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From: Bethesda, MD
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posted 06-27-2014 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the MFA office adopted Snoopy as a mascot, Ernie Reyes would draw a Snoopy cartoon that would be published as part of a daily launch vehicle/spacecraft flow processing document at KSC. Typically the beagle would be seen wrestling with some actual problem or event during the flow. They were quite popular, and later were collected into compilations for a number of Apollo missions. I have no idea if Schulz ever saw them and I never asked Ernie about any "concern" about the rights.

Robert Pearlman
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Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-27-2014 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The agency was granted use of the cartoon character so long as Schulz drew Snoopy on all the NASA-related material and a copyright notice accompanied the artwork.
The above is from this 2009 article. Unfortunately, I don't have access to my notes to identify the source of that information.

But assuming for the moment it is accurate (and I have no reason to believe it is not), that means that sometime between the initial agreement in 1967 and when Apollo 10 flew, Schulz either granted permission for others (in this case, Ernie Reyes) to draw Snoopy and Charlie Brown, or NASA forgot the terms of its arrangement with the cartoonist (as NASA public affairs officer Al Chop initiated).

Obviously, Schulz wasn't upset about the paintings, given his own comments about them after he saw that they flew, but it would be interesting to learn what transpired.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ
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posted 06-27-2014 11:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would almost say with certainty this Snoopy drawing (321443038922) was not done by Schulz... particularly with the misspelling of "Snoopies."

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ
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posted 06-28-2014 12:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From an archived NASA site on the history of the Silver Snoopy:
NASA's chief of Manned Flight Awareness decided to approach Charles Schulz, the creator of Snoopy, and ask if the astronauts might be permitted to adopt Snoopy as their personal safety symbol. An avid supporter of the U.S. space program, Mr. Schulz enthusiastically welcomed the idea. Both Charles Schulz and United Features agreed to let NASA use "Snoopy the Astronaut" at no cost. However, in the interests of preserving the comic strip character's integrity, certain and very reasonable guidelines were established.

First, because no two artists draw Snoopy alike, and multiple artistic renditions of the floppy-eared celebrity would only compromise Snoopy's identity, Charles Schulz himself would draw the figure of Snoopy on all NASA-related motivational items (decals, bumper stickers, posters, cards, pins, etc.).

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 06-28-2014 01:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (emphasis mine):
Journal Contributor Ulli Lotzmann had discussions with Ernie Reyes in mid-2000 about Snoopy's association with Apollo. Reyes was Chief of the Pre-Flight Operations Branch at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston during Apollo; and Lotzmann reports that Reyes, Wayne Stallard and others drew little cartoons on the daily schedules to make them more interesting. The Reyes Snoopy, who looks a little bit different to the Schulz-Snoopy as can be seen from examples in the Apollo 12 cuff checklists, became popular with the Astronaut Corps. Because the cartoons were never intended for commercial publication, Reyes never asked Schulz for permission to use the character.

chet
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From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 06-28-2014 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For what it's worth, I remember seeing (and may still have buried somewhere) many such drawings of Snoopy (and other Peanuts characters obviously NOT drawn by Schultz) plastered over quite a few NASA related publications, (most of them related to NASA contractor personnel). I don't have any originals, but what I remember seeing (or having) seemed to be vintage photocopies of those publications, and I always wondered how permission was obtained to use the Peanuts characters that way. I guess now we know.

Go4Launch
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From: Bethesda, MD
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 07-01-2014 11:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great work tracking that down, Robert. And yes, the Apollo 16 booklet on the right is the collection of Ernie's cartoons for that flight's flow as referenced.

767FO
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From: Boca Raton, FL
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 07-12-2014 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 767FO   Click Here to Email 767FO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Schultz "allowed" two artists to recreate his characters. Bill Melendez directed all of the Peanuts TV specials (including doing many of the voices for the characters) and also Tom Everhart, who does incredible paintings using the Peanuts characters.

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
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posted 07-12-2014 11:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And while totally unrelated, I have to throw in that the cartoonist only ever used one person's art other than Schulz's in one Peanuts strip ever; WW2 cartoonist Bill Mauldin's "Willie and Joe" characters appeared one Veteran's Day.

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